Peasant Autonomy
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Story 107

A village in Anatolia, Turkey – 1948 (2)

The bullock is worn out

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Evgeni Zotov)


“Mamit, Mamit, wake up, the bullock is dying,” my mother cries, standing at my bedside. “I don't dare to wake up father, he would have a heart attack. Come to the stable.”
It is springtime, and the school where I am the teacher is closed for the annual holiday break. I had come to visit my parents, who live in a nearby village. With the two bullocks of my parents I started ploughing, early this morning, because that had to be done urgently.
I pull my coat on and walk to the stable. The poor animal lies down on the ground, at the point of death. The other bullock, his mate, walks around him anxiously. What can we do?

In fact, it is no wonder that the bullock has fallen ill. It has only rained a little bit in the summer, and my parents had very little hay or other feed. In the middle of the winter the feed was almost finished. Today the bullocks did their best! But the ground was hard as stone, and they had eaten almost nothing for months. I did give them half of my bread, but that isn't much for a bullock. No wonder that their strength is finished.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Rogiro)


Finally mother dares to wake up my father, and also my little brother and sister, and my uncle and the neighbours. Everyone sits around the bullock, crying. Everyone sympathizes with us.
Because I am exhausted by the ploughing, I return to my bed after some time. When my mother enters the room, of course I ask immediately about the bullock. She tells me that my uncle together with the neighbours have gotten the bullock up on his feet and have fed him some sour grass. “Your uncle said, that he will get over it,” says my mother. “He doesn't have a deadly disease. Tomorrow, we will give him some yogurt with garlic.”


The book A village in Anatolia (1950-52), written by the Turkish author Mahmut Makal, describes vividly and passionately the peasant life in a very poor region. Makal knows what he talks about. He himself was brought up in such a poor village, teaches in a similar village, and thus has contact with dozens of peasant families.

Go to:
= part 1:
Village schoolteacher - a village in Anatolia, Turkey – 1948 (1), story 106.
= the next page:
A brawl, and a new insight - a village on the coast of Sicily, Italy – 1948, story 108.
= the Table of contents, story 107.